Teaching Yoga in a Retirement Village

What Do You Need to Know?
I have taught in a retirement village and it was a great experience. I remember my students and I have heard from some since I left. But there are a few quirks in working with a retirement village.

Who Makes the Decision to Have a Yoga Class?
The decision maker will usually be at the retirement village (RV) level. Even big companies with several retirement villages usually leave that decision to the local level. But from there it can vary. Many retirement villages have a residents’ council and they will likely be part of the decision. They may have the authority to make the decision or they may make a recommendation to the RV manager or the activities person for the village. Practically, the manager or activities person, may be the person you want to talk to first. They will have a good idea of what the residents have asked for and what they think they will enjoy.

The residents’ council may be more difficult to access unless you know someone at the village. In my experience, residents’ council tend to work by word of mouth. So finding someone you know that knows someone at the RV may be worth your time.

You can ask the students to pay or (far less probable), the RV pays you a class fee. Make sure that you cover your costs of transport, props, etc., when setting the fee.

It is important to understand the financial realities of mature adult yoga classes. Yoga (while increasing in popularity with older students) may not attract a large number of students over 70 (the average age for entering an RV). So if you only have 50 RV residents, you may only have 3-5 students at each class at best. Older adults have fewer scheduled activities. Half to a third of the class will be gone on any one day because of travel, illness, medical appointments and other activities. So a small retirement village provides a very minimal amount of payment.

Most RV’s will have a meeting room for activities. This means that you may have to move furniture around, and the walls may not be suitable to use for modified asanas. Ensure that the chairs are sturdy (see What Props Do You Need for Senior Yoga Classes for more information.

I have seen ads at Retirement Villages with very young models doing difficult poses . This type of advertising will not attract the residents. Older people know that very few of them could do that pose and furthermore, they will decide yoga is not for them. Use a picture of an older person doing a gentle or modified pose and you will find that there is more interest in the yoga class.